Heartburn & Indigestion

Indigestion and heartburn are extraordinarily common and are often very uncomfortable. A lot of the reasons for why you develop the symptoms are down to the lifestyle choices that you make.

Heartburn and indigestion are in fact different problems despite them both affecting the same part of the body. Heartburn is classically experienced as a burning sensation behind the breastbone and if often associated with indigestion symptoms like burping, feeling sick and upper abdominal discomfort.

My videos go through the symptoms to look out for to confirm the diagnosis and the simple measures that be tried to reduce your problem. The videos will also ensure that you are fully informed before you see your own Doctor.

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When should you worry about your indigestion or heartburn symptoms?

There is clear guidance that Doctors use to help ensure that we investigate urgently people with heartburn or indigestion with the following symptoms:

-persistent vomiting
-unintentional weight-loss
-problems swallowing
-blood in your vomit or stools

It is likely that if you tell your Doctor about this that they will do bloods to see if you are anaemic or short of iron. If you meet the above criteria then you may also be referred for an endoscopy, which is a telescopic tube that is passed into your stomach to check that everything is ok. They are also likely to check for a particular bacteria called Helicobacter pylori, which can live in your stomach and promotes the creation of extra acid. The extra acid causes the indigestion and if left untreated can cause ulcers.

Why is indigestion common in pregnancy?

The unpleasant symptoms of indigestion and heartburn are often experienced by as many as eight out of every ten pregnant women. The hormone rises seen during pregnancy relax the muscles at the top of your stomach letting your acidic stomach contents slip back (reflux) into your oesophagus – leading to heartburn symptoms. The increasing size of your uterus will also put pressure on your stomach, further worsening the leaking of your stomach contents. Simple measures like eating smaller meals and avoiding eating late will help to minimise the amount of food that can slip back where it is not wanted. You may benefit from sleeping with your head slightly elevated to reduce the amount of reflux. Watch my videos on heartburn and indigestion above to get some general information on these conditions and how to prevent them. There are plenty of medications available even when you are pregnant so help is at hand.